Here is a snapshot of one of the biggest days of my life, circa 1967 (I’m the tall one on the left).
In this case I got exactly what I wanted, at exactly the right time in my rapidly expanding universe. I am forever grateful, for a bowhunter was born!
As you can see, my little brother is quite happy too. My sister never became a hunter, but I give here credit where credit is due.
She had to live with us, and later, deal with whatever game we managed to drag home for dinner.
Long live young boy’s, the still wild piney woods of southern New Jersey, and bows!
Friends Of The Hunted: A Story For Boys
by Jewett, John Howard
First edition. Hard cover. Dodge Publishing Company (1909)
Very good. No dust jacket. Signed by previous owner. With gilt decorations on front cover and spine. Bound in red cloth, with some light wear at edges. Internal crack. Quite scarce in any condition, particularly in First Edition
$75 plus $4 shipping (in U.S.)
Above is a photograph of “Tank”, as I so affectionately named him. You will have to take my word for it, but this is a mountain goat for the bowhunting record books.
Of course, I would have had to get close enough to kill him first, and the more I hunted him the more the impossibility of that task became evident.
“Tank” did not become big by being slow-witted. I gave up the bow and turned to the rifle, but even that was a tough assignment.
I nearly had him though. He fit bodly in my crosshairs one blue-sky morning, and I wanted badly to pull the trigger. It would have been a long shot at 540 yards, but I had the gun for it and a dead rest to go with it.
In the end, he never walked into a position where he could be recovered after the shot. Such are the frustrations and tribulations of goat hunting.
Last I saw him he was grazing contentedly with some other trophy contenders, though he made them look small by comparison.
With luck and perseverance another goat hunter may take him next year, but then again, maybe not.
My guess is that he will die of old age long before that ever happens.
Long live “Tank”, the most improbable super goat!
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Wildlife Photographer Frank Donofrio of Glenwood Springs, Colorado caught this band of Bighorn Sheep on an island in the middle of The Frying Pan River above Basalt.
- In the past, some limited resident and nonresident licenses for archery and rifle hunting have been available by lottery in Bighorn Sheep Unit S44 of Colorado.
Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty
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My friend and my brother and I used to hunt squirrels, and other game, on a game-filled property in the heart of the Maryland farm country. Things with wings were the main attraction, like ducks or mourning doves. Canada geese, however were the real lure that brought us there, and populations were on the upswing in the early 1970’s. The shooting was often truly extraordinary.
The goose hunting was more than satisfying for our fathers and their friends, but not always enough for us. We were, after all, young boys bursting with inexhaustible momentum, and guns, and we badly needed something to do when the morning flights of Canada Geese had ended and the birds had laid up to rest.
For me, it was not just a way to pass the time until the late afternoon hunt. Goose shooting is thrilling, and fun, but squirrels…now that’s a young hunter’s big game.
Fortunately, the hardwood fingers between the cornfields and the backwaters of Chesapeake Bay were absolutely jammed with the elusive bushytails. We spent a lot of time still hunting through the autumn leaves, sharpening our eyes behind the rifle sights and practicing our future whitetail hunting skills. Squirrels fell all around us, though I doubt that we ever really put much of a dent in their numbers. They are, among so many things, a restless and boundless survivor in the long-term scheme of things.
I miss those days spent within that colorful cathedral of canopy, slipping soundlessly around the trunks of tall trees with my chin pointed to the sky. Patience is a virtue in this game, as is focus and sharp eyesight. A flash here and a flash there was sometimes all you got, but sometimes, if you were lucky or good, you got a little more too. A squirrel’s head is a tiny target, and you could fancy yourself quite a marksman if you could drop one cleanly and quick.
Long ago I graduated to hunting much bigger and glamorous game, in places where the terrain and scenery could not be much more different from that gentle land. But those squirrels of my youth have never journeyed very far out of mind, and that is a good thing.
I long to hunt squirrels. I crave those simple and rewarding days in the land of sassafras and scolding bluejays. Some are quick to say that the world moves on, and that you can never really revisit a time gone by. Perhaps that is true, but certainly not in all things. I would like to think that squirrel hunting is one of those.
I feel a well deserved squirrel hunt coming on, and some Brunswick Stew to go with it, wherever they may be…
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“Sure, the usually available squirrel is fine game for the beginning hunter. No game animal will give him better training in hunting fundamentals – stalking, concealment, woodsmanship, and shooting and gun handling. And should he become so fortunate that he has a chance at them, those early lessons will serve him well on this continent’s most prized big game animals…Frequent jaunts to a convenient squirrel woods season the long and colorful careers of many of our most famous hunters…
The hunter pussyfooting through the squirrel woods is not seeking a trophy animal, is not concerned about the behavior of an expensive bird dog, nor is he attempting to impress a hunting partner with his wingshooting. He is in the hardwoods for the pure joy of hunting…
-By Bob Gooch, found in All About Small-Game Hunting in America. Edited by Russell Tinsley.
All About Small-Game Hunting in America. By Russell Tinsley
Published by Macmillan, 1984. Very Good condition in Very good Dustjacket.
$12.95 plus $4 shipping (in U.S.)
Few events are more memorable to a hunter than the taking of his or her first buck. My guess is that you would probably agree.
Here is a picture of mine, which I recently found in a box of old Ektachrome slides. It is the only physical record I have left, as the mount was lost in a fire so many years ago.
I took this Maryland buck in 1971 when I was thirteen years old, with a Pumpkin Ball slug fired off the bead of my Remington 1100 shotgun. It could not have been a more beautiful, crisp, November morning in that wonderful land of whitetails. It was a fine shot too, for it is not so easy to make a fifty yard shot with that equipment. I was more than thrilled, and I don’t think anyone could have wiped the smile off of my face for several days.
I can recall almost every detail of that scene to this day, and I don’t mind revisiting it periodically in my mind. Obviously, it is not the biggest whitetail buck ever harvested, but it may as well have been, at least to me. Why it was as big as the world.
I hope that you have a memory like this in your box of experiences, and if not, may you get one soon.
Long live the white-tailed deer…
You Can read the full story HERE
Posted by Michael Patrick McCarty
The Whitetail Deer Guide-A Complete, Practical Guide to Hunting America’s Number One Big Game Animal
by Heuser, Ken
Hard cover. Holt, Rinehart and Winston, New York (1972)
Very good in very good dust jacket. xii, 208 p. : illus.; 22 cm. Includes Illustrations.
$9.95 plus $4 shipping (in U.S.)
October 15, 2015
“One hot afternoon in August I sat under the elm, idling, when I saw a deer pass across a small opening a quarter-mile east. A deer trail crosses our farm, and at this point any deer traveling is briefly visible from the shack.
I then realized that half an hour before I had moved my chair to the best spot for watching the deer trail; that I had done this habitually for years, without being clearly conscious of it. This led to the thought that by cutting some brush I could widen the zone of visibility. Before night the swath was cleared, and within the month I detected several deer which otherwise could likely have passed unseen.
The new deer swath was pointed out to a series of weekend guests for the purpose of watching their later reactions to it. It was soon clear that most of them forgot it quickly, while others watched it, as I did, whenever chance allowed. The upshot was the realization that there are four categories of outdoorsmen: deer hunters, duck hunters, bird hunters, and non-hunters. These categories have nothing to do with sex or age, or accoutrements; they represent four diverse habits of the human eye. The deer hunter habitually watches the next bend; the duck hunter watches the skyline; the bird hunter watches the dog; the non-hunter does not watch.
When the deer hunter sits down he sits where he can see ahead, and with his back to something. The duck hunter sits where he can see overhead, and behind something. The non-hunter sits where he is comfortable. None of these watches the dog. The bird hunter watches only the dog…”
From the chapter entitled “The Deer Swath” in A Sand County Almanac”, by Aldo Leopold.
I read this for the first time many years ago, and the basic premise of it has stuck in my mind ever since. It is classic Leopold, whose writings always seems to leave behind more thought-provoking questions than he answers. He was, and still is, one of the preeminent teachers of the natural world.
Looking back, I realize now that I have always sat with shoulders squared up to something at my back, watching.
Perhaps I am just a deer hunter at heart. It is the promise of deer, for which I wait.
Where do you sit?
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